Barely two months since the Nigerian Ports Authority introduced Electronic Call-Up System, known as Eto, to mitigate the traffic choas on Apapa port access, experts have faulted the platform.
In separate chats with Financial Street on Wednesday, some pundits said the platform had turned into a cash cow for some people.
The National Publicity Secretary of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Stanley Ezenga, maintained that there had not been any respite on the road despite the e-call-up system. According to him, the system has become a money-spinner for some people, especially government officials.
The traffic situation has persisted due to poor access roads and the failure of the government to prevail on the contractor handling the construction of the Apapa to Oworonshoki expressway to expedite action, he said.
“Why won’t there be gridlock when the NPA electronic call-up system is just a nomenclature. The system is a money-making venture for NPA and some beneficiaries. For each call-up, a truck pays N10,000 as official fee. They still part with other money to security operatives before they get to the port,” the NAGAFF image-maker explained, adding that the cause of the gridlock was yet to be addressed.
He noted, “So who is fooling who? From the onset, I knew there would be issues with the system because the main issue that has to do with the gridlock, coupled with the state of the road, has not been addressed. You can only come into Apapa through Wharf Road because the other road from Berger to Trinity is impassable.
“They invited the Navy, created a task force, but the gridlock has negated all of them. The e-call-up is not working. That is why the gridlock is still there. It is the same road the trucks will pass when they are called and when they are not called upon, and yet the issues that made them to be on the road have not been addressed.”
Lamenting the pain and frustration clearing agents go through to access the port, the National Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Importers and Exporters Coalition, Osita Chukwu, described the traffic situation as terrible, with armed robbers seizing the opportunity to rob motorists and commuters of their valuables day and night.
“Look at Mile 2 road; the government knows quite well the importance of the port, so why break all the roads just to show you are working while people are being stuck in traffic? Daily, hoodlums and armed robbers attack people at Mile 2. These are things that the government should look into if we really want the e-call-up to succeed because there are vested interests sabotaging the system,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Remi Ogungbemi, said the system is fraught with several irregularities including corruption in the system; hence it has failed to address the gridlock.
Ogungbemi accused NPA, police and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority officials of extortion at various checkpoints.
He disclosed that any truck driver that refused to part with money would not be allowed to access the port, even if he has an Eto ticket.
Ogungbemi noted that trucks without Eto tickets, sometimes, gain access into the port easier than those with genuine tickets, especially at night.
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